What is the Skilled Worker Route?

In November 2020 new changes were made by the Home Office to the new points-based immigration system. The Skilled Worker route will open to new applications on 01 December 2020, replacing the Tier 2 (General) route which will close on the same day. Whilst there are a number of similarities between Tier 2 (General) and the Skilled Worker route, the change has been implemented to allow employers to sponsor a weirder workforce from outside the UK. The new changes appear to be much more flexible and may encourage migrants to see the United Kingdom new immigration system as a new destination. The new points-based system will include a route for skilled workers who have a job offer from an approved employer sponsor.

Lower minimum skilled threshold

From January 2021, the job an overseas worker has been offered will need to be at a required skill level of RQF3 or above (this is equivalent to A level). Unlike its predecessor, where the skill level required was at RQF6 with a couple of exception where the skilled level was lower, such as nurses, and chefs. Migrants applying for a Skilled Worker Visa will not need to hold formal qualifications, but the skill level of the job they will be doing will determine whether the threshold is met accordingly.

Lower salary threshold

Unlike Tier 2 (General) where the general salary to sponsor from overseas was £30,000, the Skilled Worker Visa brings a general salary of £25,600. Employers looking to recruit under the Skilled Worker route will need to pay the skilled worker a salary which equals or exceeds both a general salary threshold and the “going rate” for the occupation (as set out in the relevant SOC code), whichever is higher.

A number of skilled worker using the Skilled Worker route may in fact be paid less that the new general salary, where they will be given additional “tradeable points” for other attributes. This is something new and distinguish than the old Tier 2 General route. Example of those skilled workers with a lower salary are as follows:

  • a) An applicant with a job offer under the shortage occupation list may be paid a salary which equals or exceeds both the general salary of £20,480 per annum and 80% of the going rate for the relevant SOC code
  • b) An applicant who is considered a new entrant may be paid an annual salary which equals or exceeds both £20,480 and 70% of the going rate for the relevan SOC code;
  • c) A PdD applicant may be paid an annual salary which equals or exceeds both £23,040 and 90% of the going rate for the relevant SOC code.

The new entrant to the job market

If during the time of Tier 2 (General) those under the age of 26, or switching from a Student Visa could benefit from the new entrant salary rate, with the Skilled Worker route Applicants sponsored in postdoctoral research positions along with those working towards professional qualifications, registration or chartered status are included. The students who were on Tier 4 at any time in the two years before they apply under the Skilled Worker route will benefit from the new entrant position.

Skilled Worker Sponsorship Cap
The cap on the number of migrants entering the UK has been suspended, meaning there is no set number of how many migrants should be allowed under the Skilled Worker route.

What are the benefits of the skilled worker visa route?

  • A better opportunity for employer to select talent from everywhere around the world,
  • The Resident Labour Market testing (RLMT) has been abolished with the new scheme
  • More generous provisions allowing switching of visa routes from inside the UK.
  • Lower minimum salary requirements for new entrants (who are starting their career). They will need to meet either 70% of the going rate for their occupation code or £20,480, whichever is higher.
  • There will be no limit on the number of skilled workers who can come to the UK.
  • Skilled workers can apply for unlimited visa extensions as compared to the Tier 2 (general) Visa route where skilled workers could apply for visa extension till 6 years.
  • Applicants can live, work, and establish themself in the UK and apply for ILR after completing 5 years in the UK.

How long can you stay on the Skilled Worker Visa

If on a Tier 2 (General) the maximum time a migrant could spend on Tier 2 was up to 6 years, with the Skilled Worker visa this has now been removed, meaning a migrant can be on the new skilled worker visa for as long as he or she continues to satisfy the route.

The level of English language required for the Skilled Worker Visa

The new candidates to the new immigration route can satisfy the English language requirement using their GCSE/A level or Scottish Highers certificates. The current methods of proving English language ability, such as Degree taught in English or SELT will continue to apply.

What is needed to successfully apply for a Skilled Worker Visa?

An Applicant will need the following documents to file an application under the Skilled Worker route:

  • A valid passport
  • A certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), which is issued by the employer
  • The job offer must be at or above RQF3
  • Evidence of meeting the level of English language
  • Evidence that they meet the maintenance requirement, either by showing evidence of their savings or am undertaking from their employer
  • TB test, if your country is listed on the Appendix T

What are the qualifying points for a Skilled Worker visa?

An Applicant will need a minimum of 70 points to qualify for the skilled worker route as below:

  • Mandatory 50 points attribute for all the skilled migrants which are
    1. English speaking at the required level- 10 points
    2. Job offer from an approved sponsor- 20 points
    3. Relevant skill level for the applied job- 20 points
  • Tradeable salary points
    1. Salary of £20,480 to £23,039. Have to meet at least 80% of the minimum salary requirements for the respective profession (whichever is higher) – 0 points
    2. Salary of £23,040 to £25,599. Have to meet at least 90% of the minimum salary requirement for the respective profession (whichever is higher) – 10 points
    3. Salary of £25,600 or above. Have to meet at least the minimum requirement for the respective profession (whichever is higher) – 20 points
  • Other tradeable points
    1. Have a job in a shortage occupation as designated by the Migration Advisory Committee – 20 points
    2. Education qualification
    3. Ph.D. in a subject related to the current job – 10 points
    4. Ph.D. in a STEM subject related to the current job – 20 points
    5. Have a job listed in the health or education occupation/ new entrant in the labour market, and the applicant’s salary equals or exceeds both £20,480 per year and the going rate for SOC code. – 20 points

How to apply for the skilled worker route?

An applicant will need to make an online application using the appropriate form, and paying the appropriate fees. The fees applicable for the application can be found on the UK government website by accessing the following link here.

Do you need help with the Skilled Worker Route?

What to do if your skilled worker route application is refused?

There is commonly no privilege of appeal for a refusal of skilled worker route application made from outside or inside the UK. In any case, you might have the option to apply for an Administrative Review or Judicial Review. Our team of experienced corporate immigration solicitors can help your application for a skilled worker route visa on the most ideal alternative to upscale your growth.

How can A Y & J Solicitors help with skilled worker route visa applications?

Our experienced business immigration solicitors are consistently working with skilled and talented people who are going to the UK for career growth.

From our experience, we can deal with a skilled worker route visa application effectively from start to finish. We can likewise work with you to help your family members to come to the UK as your dependants. You can be sure the application process will run smoothly as we are a Legal 500 recognised boutique law firm.

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